Brighton Music Blog End of Year Top Twenty, part one 20-11

End of year lists are a funny old business. Should they be a measure of the success of the artists on the list you’re compiling? If that were the case then Royal Blood would be the top of any Brighton based list by the longest of margins (and they have been voted album of the year by NME readers). The alternative is that they’re based on personal preference instead, which is incredibly subjective but does give us the chance to enthuse about the things we’ve loved the most over the past twelve months. Being just a list of twenty acts is incredibly restricting too. The past couple of years we’ve put together out best of list as an Advent Calendar instead, which gave us another five acts we could include, but would have meant us getting our act together in November which was never going to happen this year. So here’s the first half of our top twenty – we’ll count down our top ten counting down as we get closer to Christmas.

20. Yumi & The Weather – All We Can EP

Technically All We Can came out in December 2013, but end of year lists had all been agreed by that point and tracks on the EP are easily as good if not better than most of the new music we’ve heard in 2014. The Vondelpark rework of the EPs title track is pure bliss.

19. Anushka – Mansions

Anushka’s Mansions, the lead single from their album Broken Circuit which came out on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings was one of our tunes of the summer.

18. Curxes – Valkyrie

To keep us interested while the Brighton / Portsmouth duo inch forward to completion of their debut long player (which has a provision title of Verxes), this year the band put out PreCurxor – a compilation of their early work – and this single, a noisy, frantic affair that’s guaranteed to wake you up.

17. Michael A Grammar – The Day I Come Alive

We fell in love with Michael A Grammar’s The Day I Came Alive on the very first listen, probably because it sounded like early Blur and reminded us of our first trips to indie discos many years ago.

16. Dog in the Snow – Factory

Dog in the Snow put out a couple of singles this year, with Factory being the more electronic of the two. The video was a fantastic match for the song, initially about mundane daily repetition before morphing into something magical.

15. The New Union – Now

The New Union continue apace with their melodic indie rock. Now was the first of their two singles of 2014, which was followed up later in the year by the equally great Believe in Nothing.

14. Winston & Goldstein – Ode to a Massive Obsession

Jacqueline Collyer used to be in Kins, but this year she went solo, ditched the guitars (mostly), and embraced electronica in all it’s forms on her album In The Eyes of the Other from ambient to dance tracks like Ode to a Massive Obsession which is our pick.

13. The Fiction Aisle – Blue

The Fiction Aisle have only played three gigs, and have only put one track on the internet so far. The man behind the band is an industry veteran though, with over ten years experience under his belt. This year, Electric Soft Parade hung up their hats (except for the odd one off), but Tom White has formed a brilliant new band, recruiting brother Alex on drums, and a cast of thousands. Well, about a dozen.

12. Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes

Blood Red Shoes eponymous fourth album was heralded from all quarters as a return to form. Their gig in April at the Concorde was the loudest thing we heard this year.

11. Adolescent – Golden Halls part II

There’s been an incredible amount of electronica produced in Brighton this year, most of it coming out through the wonderful Physics House Band affiliated KLDSCP records. Pick of the bunch for us was Adolescent’s Golden Halls EP, and it’s utterly beautiful and unhurried lead track Golden Halls Part II

August Top Ten

1) There’s one standout winner in August’s top ten. They’ve just released the best selling Rock Debut in since Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and had the first number one album for a Brighton band since, erm, Conor Maynard. This is Figure It Out by Royal Blood

2) David Harks latest offering Open Arms has been getting a lot of plays around these parts, keeping the summer alive when the sun deserted us for most of August:

3) We first wrote about Believe in Nothing by The New Union back at the beginning of July, but it didn’t get released until 4th August. The band will be back on the Brighton stage on 16th September supporting Coasts at the Komedia.

4) Hushabye was originally the b-side to Jennifer Left‘s 2012 single Black Dog. This month the album of the same name got released:

5) The Night is the double a-side to to Twin, which is Oslo Park‘s debut single which came out on 25th August:

6) Curxes new single Valkyrie was also out this month, continuing their track record of packing a great tune into a full on aural assault:

7) The Wytches album Annabel Dream Weaver was also one of this months highlights, and it was preceded by the single Burn Out The Bruise

8) We’ve been enjoying the fragile folk of Lutine‘s single Sallow Tree. Noted music have just added up another track from the band’s forthcoming album to their website today.

9) Dark Horses made a return this month with Hail Lucid State, their second album produced by Richard Fearless. Saturn Returns was the single, not to be confused with Goldie’s 1998 album

10) Duly Noted Record’s Black Honey remain just as elusive for the release of their second single Teenager, with no information about the band forthcoming other than a phone number to contact them on…

 

new music – The New Union, House of Hats, Caveman Genius, Steve Elston, High Tyde, Spacenoid, Lion Bark

Here’s this week’s roundup of Brighton (and Hove)’s new music

First up is news of The New Union‘s new single Believe in Nothing. It’s being released by legendary indie label Fierce Panda (on their Fandgo imprint) on 4th August. There’s details of a London launch for the release, but no word yet on a Brighton launch.

House of Hats, just back from touring the US, have put up a new video for one of the tracks from their album This Love. This is Close to Me:

Our friends over at Some Of It Is True tipped us off about Soph Nathan. Soph is in a number of local bands (including fronting Hella Better Dancer) and has just posted up her first solo effort – Our Girl.

Caveman Genius has a new EP entitled Paradise out next week on Kaleidescope Records. Hand Drawn Paradise is the first track to be given an airing from it, a lovely dose of fuzzy house:

Steve Elston sent me a message earlier today asking me to give his new EP a listen. I clicked through the link and the name-your-price Bandcamp download is actually seven tracks long. I’ve got albums with fewer tracks than that. The Dear Em EP is lovely lilting folk – perfect for warm summer nights.

Karibu is the new single from High Tyde, out on July 14th. The video was filmed all around Brighton – see how many of the locations you can spot. The band are hosting a launch show for the single at the Komedia on July 18th.

Spacenoid released their new single Vanished last weekend, available as a free download from bandcamp. If you missed their single launch at The Hope, you can catch them again at the Gladstone on 16th August.

Lion Bark release their debut single Come in to my Arms on 28th July on their own Creepy Love records. Come into my arms is gentle folk-pop, standing out from the crowd thanks to lead singer Guy’s distinctive voice:

March Top Ten

Here’s the pick of our favourite tracks we’ve been listening to this month, just in case you missed them first time around

1 – Bentcousin with LL & the D’s / You Make Me Feel So Young

OK, so maybe we’re a bit biased here because Bentcousin gave us our first exclusive track that we’ve posted on the blog, but nevertheless it’s still a great catchy tune

2 – Dog in the Snow / Factory

Dog in the Snow’s latest single is a more electronic affair than their earlier work, and their best yet in our opinion.

3 – The New Union / Now

The NME have just caught onto the New Union’s new single Now. We first posted about it back in February.

4 – IYES / Breathe

IYES ascendancy continues apace with their new single Breathe which ropes in production dues from MNEK.

5 – Phantom Runners / Chase the Feeling

Another Brighton band who’ve roped in a name producer are Phantom Runners, whose new single has the guiding hand of the Fun Lovin Criminals’ Huey Morgan.

6 – Them The Sky / Fall (Finjin remix)

The original of Fall was a more guitar based post rock affair, but in it’s remixed form is much more blissed out.

7 – A Lily / A House is not a Motel

Over the course of March, A Lily put out an EP of four cover versions called Augury. Their version of Love’s A House is not a Motel is our pick.

8 – Eagles for Hands / Appalachia (feat Sivu)

Eagles for Hands latest soundcloud upload is a collaboration with Sivu, which shows a completely different side to both artists work.

9 – Black Rooster Black Shag / Borderline

The new video from Black Rooster Black Shag is another teaser for the band’s debut album which gets released on 1st May, which we’ll be telling you more about very soon.

10 – Hypnotized / Hylia

Hylia is the track with the strongest Eastern flavour from Hypnotized’s new Telesto EP, marrying sitars with rolling beats.

New Music – Fear of Men, The New Union, Luo, Bentcousin, A Lily

Here’s out latest round up of Brighton’s new music, with tracks from Fear of Men, The New Union, Luo, Bentcousin, and A Lily.

We’ve written about Fear of Men‘s new single Luna before (here and here), but now they’ve posted up the video, premiered earlier today over on Vice, featuring wrestling, archery and snake handling

The New Union‘s new single Now came out last week, and now you can download a free remix by Oxford’s Pixel Fix, where they’ve swapped the jangling guitars are swapped chilled beats:

Luo released a new three track EP today. Lapis Lazuli is a return to Luo’s earlier electronica style, but he promises that he hasn’t turned his back on prog:

BentCousin have got a new track up on Souncloud. Everything is apparently about stalking, not that you’d guess from the melodica and soulful backing:

Since our last new music roundup A Lily have posted up the last two cover versions which go to make up their Augury EP. You can download Cold Blooded Old Times (originally a Smog track), and The Hollows (a Why? cover) from their bandcamp page:

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar Day Fifteen – The New Union / Staying Friends

IMG_0537eesThe New Union released their first full length EP to the world back in June. The self titled 12″ contained four tracks of predominantly guitar based pop and for a debut it was incredibly accomplished. Staying friends was the lead track and still gets a lot of plays around these parts.

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Weekend Gig Picks

In Brighton, the first weekend in August is associated with being Pride – probably the biggest party in the local calendar. We’re not going to include that in our weekend gig picks because of the lack of local acts on the bill, but we have got a whole load of other gigs to tell you about, including a very special couple of days at the Green Door Store.

AMiTYTomorrow night IYES and Yumi & The Weather are supporting MT at the Prince Albert. It doesn’t cost anything to get in, but to get hold of a ticket you’ll need to register online.

There’s quite a few gigs on Friday that have caught our eye. AMiTY and Jacko Hooper are playing at Neighbourhood on St James Street, and The Jargonaughts (featuring ex members of Los Albertos) are on at the Gladstone. Over at The Hope multimedia electronica night The Outer Church hold the launch night for their new compilation with live music from Pye Corner Radio, Kember Norton, Embla Quickbeam and Wrong Signals.

234Over Saturday and Sunday Green Door Store are holding an event called TwoThreeFour. There are over twenty bands on the bill, mostly from Brighton, including The New Union, Kill Moon, Faux Flux, Spit Shake Sisters, Dog in the Snow, GAPS, Written in Waters, The Hundredth Anniversary, Tyrannosaurus Dead, Ed Prosek, Tigercub, Foreign Skin, Wildcat Strike and Demob Happy. It’s an amazing line up, and it’s free – You’d be a fool to miss it.

Boon Magazine Launch headlined by The New Union

Thursday night was the launch of a new magazine for Brighton, promising music, fashion, art and culture. They heard a rumour that we like Brighton and that we like music so they invited us along to the Green Door Store where they had a whole host of local talent playing for them.

The night kicked off early. When the gig was first announced Tiger Cub were second on the bill, but another commitment initially meant them pulling out, and then got rearranged for them to play a short set early on. I missed Tiger Cub though, cos I was having my dinner. I also missed Spit Shake Sisters, and most of Kill Moon, and when I arrived the room was already so rammed out I couldn’t get in and get a decent view.

Demob Happy

Demob Happy

Demob Happy were great though – melodic indie rock which sounded fantastic at the Green Door Store, but I bet would sound even better when you’re sitting in a field in the sun at a festival.

The New Union

The New Union

The New Union were the big draw of the evening, and one of the main reasons why the night was sold out. Every time I see them they seem to get better and better – Their sound is richer, the songs are stronger. They’ve got a few slow songs in their set now which I’m sure will be great when they’re recorded, but they were in danger of losing the crowd a bit when they played them. With their more upbeat indie numbers they had the audience in the palm of their hand and had the room jumping. They ended their set with last year’s single Without You, and what I guess is going to be their new single which is due in the next few weeks. We’ll hopefully be bringing you more details of that very soon.

The first edition of Boon Magazine is out on May Day.

The New Union / Without You

When I first came across The New Union on Soundcloud, I thought that they were a band who’d been around for a few years who were showcasing their releases so far. A while later I saw a flyer for one of their gigs and I thought they had a major label design team behind them. When I got to the gig they were as tight as you could get and looked like a band rather than a collection of people who had grabbed instruments and got onstage. But The New Union haven’t even released a record yet.

All this changes on the 8th of October, when the band put out their debut single Without You. Produced by Ian Dowling (who’s worked with the likes of Temper Trap, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kasabian and recent Brighton resident Adele) the song is three minutes of soaring guitar pop which sounds like a band several years into their career rather than one putting out their first record.

The band launch the record with a gig upstairs at Fitzherberts on 12th October. Get there early – it’ll be rammed.

The New Union supporting Clock Opera at Green Door Store

Before last night’s gig I’d had a listen to The New Union on soundcloud and what caught my ear was the slick production. Great studio production isn’t a guarantee of a great live performance though, so I was impressed by their display supporting Clock Opera. All dressed in black, the group gave the impression of a band with a unified look, rather than just four guys who happened to be on stage together. The songs were well written, obviously well rehearsed, and sounding tight. If anyone was looking for Brighton’s next big guitar pop hope after The Maccabees, they need look no further than The New Union.

The New Union